Green Tick : Teaching Primary Science from Routledge

ASE Evaluation

Teaching Primary Science: Promoting enjoyment and developing understanding (Third Edition)

Authors: Peter Loxley, Lyn Dawes, Linda Nicholls and Babs Dore
Teacher book
ISBN: 978 1 138 65182 1 (pbk)
Format: Paperback (Hardback and e-book available)
Ages: 5-11 


Practical Ideas for Teaching Primary Science: Inspiring learning and enjoyment

(companion book to ‘Teaching Primary Science’ above)

Author: Peter Loxley
Teacher book
ISBN: 978 1 138 65965 0 (pbk)
Format: Paperback (Hardback and e-book available) 


Whether qualified or training to teach, Teaching Primary Science: Promoting Enjoyment and Developing Understanding goes a long way to being that elusive one key text in primary science that supports theory, pedagogy and subject knowledge in a readily accessible way. Published in two parts, Part 1 comprises Theory and Practice, where key themes in teaching and learning are explored in depth.  The second part focuses upon Subject Knowledge and Ideas for Practice, which covers the key areas of primary science needed for effective teaching by further supporting teachers in developing their own understanding of the key concepts involved. Part 2 also contains many useful and interesting ideas for teaching across Key Stages 1 and 2 (ages 5-11).  


Part 1 features sections called Something to Think About, where scenarios are embedded to develop the reader’s understanding of scientific concepts.  This is really useful for updating understanding and approach for the experienced teacher, but also for the trainee teacher in beginning to develop an understanding of pedagogy and approach.  There are examples given of activities to carry out in the classroom, and copies of children’s work as a WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like).  Each chapter is clearly summarised, with further reading available and journal reviews (ASE features heavily here) where appropriate.  A key feature of this book is its usability – it even has a Guided Tour included to take you through how to use the book and the layout.  It is so well thought out in terms of science coverage; it does of course cover the content of the National Curriculum as we know it, but it isn’t written solely for this purpose and it looks at all aspects of primary science across all age phases, making this a useful book for those working in schools with their own curriculum. 

Part 2 has twelve broadly themed areas of science, each set out in the same format with background historical context, the nature of the science, which includes individual key features, and a summary.  Each section is in full colour (in fact the whole book is in colour), with well-chosen photographs and diagrams.  At the end of each section are some pages, entitled Ideas for Practice, for both lower 5-8 and upper 8-11 age phases.  These sections are ideas for practice in the classroom, not prescriptive lesson plans.  These sections are fantastically useful for teachers, as they put everything you have learnt about in subject knowledge into context whilst additionally supporting ideas for teaching approaches, such as talk for learning and assessment opportunities.  They also provide a refreshing look at science topics, with cross-curricular links to many core and foundation subjects.  These sections have been the real gem of Teaching Primary Science since the first edition in 2010, so it is interesting to note that there is a companion book soon to be published alongside this 3rd Edition, which focuses purely on these ideas for teaching. 

Key features

Practical Ideas for Teaching Primary Science by Peter Loxley is a companion book based upon the core book’s Ideas for Practice sections, where these ideas are extended and enriched.  The ideas are based upon what is described as a three-stage framework; a deeper coverage of the rationale for this method is covered in the core book. Simply put, there are three stages to each of the ideas given.  The three stages are: 

  1. exploration stage: enquiry stage based on an answer to a puzzle;
  2. re-describing stage: using different points of view and looking at what the science has to say.  There is an emphasis on language to help children re-think their ideas; and
  3. application stage: with real life contexts applied to the science that the children have learnt about.  

Each topic has some practical ‘hooks’, such as poetry, photographs and quotes, to set the scene at the start of each new topic.  There are many ideas for Key Stage 1, Lower and Upper Key Stage 2.   Each topic is clearly introduced, with the working scientifically focus clearly defined. It is rich in ideas, questions to ask and science enquiry to do.  As well as a great resource to support the teaching of the National Curriculum’s programmes of study, it provides ideas that go beyond this minimum requirement. Enriching each topic for each age phase means that there are extension ideas to try, so there are even science ideas such as designing a meal in space for physics-based topics such as Earth in Space in Key Stage 1.  As each topic leads from one age phase to the next, there is clear progression evident in knowledge and skills, with practical, collaborative and modelled ideas, which is something on which even experienced teachers need refreshment and guidance from time to time.  In addition, what really makes each topic so accessible is that there is a wealth of well-chosen and useful websites and books already sourced and recommended to use.    


In summary, Teaching Primary Science: Promoting Enjoyment and Developing Understanding still remains a great book that is clear, easy to understand and useful for building or indeed revisiting the subject knowledge needed for primary science teaching.  The layout is well designed and accessible; you can simply dip into a section you need or read it cover to cover. One thing is for sure – it won’t gather dust on the bookshelf.  As Practical Ideas for Teaching Primary Science is designed to sit as a companion book alongside the core book, it might suggest that you need to own both. However, for the experienced primary science teacher who understands the theory and pedagogy of primary science, the companion book would provide great inspiration on its own.  Those training to teach, or those who feel less confident about their skills as a science teacher, would benefit greatly from the support and theoretical underpinning that the core book can offer.


Green Tick